COVERT cameras are being hidden in traffic lollipops to improve road safety at schools.

The hi-tech cameras will be embedded in the lollipop sticks in a bid to cut the number of drivers failing to stop outside schools.

Flintshire is the first county in Wales to trial the controversial scheme, which pressure groups have branded “outrageous.”

Road safety bosses say the cameras will make the journey to and from school safer for pupils and pedestrians.

Deputy council leader Tony Sharps said: “The introduction of a camera pole at school crossing patrol sites in Flintshire will help ensure the safety of both vulnerable children and adult pedestrians on their way to and from school, as well as giving patrols extra protection against potential motorists failing to stop.

“A number of incidents go un-reported for a number of reasons. It is extremely difficult for patrols to recall the registration number of an offending vehicle, as their main priority is to ensure the safety of the pedestrians crossing the road in question.”

However, critics say the scheme is too far-fetched.

Alex Deane, director from the Big Brother Watch pressure group, told the Leader:
“This is an outrageous idea. Britain is the most watched nation in the world and now they want to put CCTV cameras on our friendly neighbourhood lollipop ladies? You have to wonder what next for the surveillance state?”

Video information gathered may be used as evidence in court should a motorist fail to stop at a school crossing patrol point.

The camera pole will be passed around Flintshire’s school crossing patrol sites for week long intervals.

All lollipop ladies and men will be trained to use the new equipment which will record when the pole is vertical and upright.

The scheme has already been successful in local authorities in England.

- Flintshire council is seeking new recruits to the school crossing patrol service.
Call the Road Safety Unit on 01352 704497 for more details.